The question cast an ominous cloud all spring long. The position battle led to many fabricated, exaggerated stories (Luis Hernandez anyone?) and was punctuated with the eventual release of veteran Luis Castillo.
Well, the second-guessing (pardon the pun) seems to be over as it looks like Rule 5 draft pick Brad Emaus is ready to be anointed the club’s everyday second baseman.
Emaus had a coming out party in Thursday’s spring game against the Cardinals. In the 16-3 Mets rout, Emaus went 4-4 with a home run and three runs scored. Emaus is now batting .293 for the spring, while also sporting a sterling .439 OBP.
With the release of Castillo and management preferring to keep Daniel Murphy as a utility player off the bench (spelling Ike Davis and David Wright), the job came down to Hernandez and Emaus. (Another potential prospect who had a shot-Justin Turner- was just sent down to the minors earlier this week).
Well, it seems that Emaus’ potential for producing with his bat and getting on base got him the nod. So, just who exactly is Brad Emaus?
Call Emaus a byproduct of J.P. Ricciardi’s advance scouting. Ricciardi drafted Emaus while he was Toronto’s GM. It’s quite evident Ricciardi and Sandy Alderson love Emaus’ potential. Emaus fits perfectly into Alderson and Ricciardi’s “Moneyball” approach.
Last year in the minors (with stints in Double-A and Triple-A) Emaus batted .290 with 15 home runs, 75 RBI’s and 81 walks.
Emaus, in his time in the minors and with the Mets this spring, has shown that he is a patient hitter. Emaus is a player that takes pride in getting on base. It’s that type of approach at the plate that tantalizes Alderson and Ricciardi.
In a Wall Street Journal article Ricciardi said that the Mets need a gritty type like Emaus who will work the count and do anything to get on base.
“I think the appealing thing for us is, he sees a lot of pitches,” Ricciardi said. “As we go forward, that’s the type of team we’d like to have, guys that do get on base, guys that grind out walks.”
As long as Emaus does just that, management can live with the ups and the downs Emaus may have on defense.
While manager Terry Collins may or may not have wanted Hernandez as his starting second baseman because of his defense, Alderson and Ricciardi have the final say. They feel that second base is an offensive position, which is especially evident in a division that includes the Phillies’ Chase Utley and the Braves’ Dan Uggla. The latter of which Emaus is compared to because they were both Rule 5 draft picks.
Emaus is not a flashy player by any means but he seems like the steady, hard-working, tough as nails type that the new management want fans to embrace. Emaus won’t have to shoulder much of the load in his rookie season as he bats in the eight hole, making his transition to the majors as seamless as possible.
So, get to know your newest Mets’s second basemen: Number Four and batting eighth, Brad Emaus.